Games. We’ve already covered and rounded up a lot of them for Android, but today we’re taking a bit of a different look at gaming on our beloved mobile operating system. In this roundup, we’ll take a look at apps for keeping up-to-date with the gaming industry, apps to help you out during gameplay and other apps to stay engaged with your favourite gaming franchises when you’re not actually playing.
If you’ve heard of IGN and Gamespot, you’ll most certainly know Machinima, the video network that covers a wide variety of gaming content including game trailers, reviews, previews, commentaries, tips/walkthrough videos and, of course, machinima!
The Machinima Android app puts all this content at your fingertips, allowing you to view the massive catalogue of videos from Machinima’s varying series and to share them with your friends.
The official GameStop app, for US readers, offers mobile access to the retailer’s large catalogue of gaming products, even allowing you to take advantage of offers and purchase goods right from within the app, on-the-go. If you’re part of GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards program, the app can be used to earn points for checking into stores and then redeemed for in-store coupons and offers.
Even if you don’t go as far as buying a game from the retailer, the app also hosts descriptions, videos and screenshots for the games in their catalogue, allowing you to find new gems.
Appy Gamer delivers a comprehensive catalogue of news, photos and videos from a variety of popular sources, including the likes of T3 and Eurogamer. The app can be customised to filter content to just the stuff you’re interested in with the app’s TagNav explorer, allowing you for example to focus on Call of Duty and pass on the Wii U filler.
Xbox gamers, listen up! The Xbox SmartGlass app from Microsoft works in conjunction with your Xbox 360 console to allow you to interact with your online presence, social portfolio and the content stored on your console, as well as browse Microsoft’s catalogue of gaming and video content.
Watching a video? Use the app as your remote control to play/pause and scrub through the video. Want to pull up a game and start playing? Use the app to navigate your Xbox and launch your chosen content. Or kick back and use Xbox SmartGlass to customise your Xbox LIVE avatar and interact with your friends through the network’s social features.
Sony’s official PlayStation app for Android puts the world of PlayStation, console or handheld, into your hands, allowing you to explore your games, devices and your representation on PSN.
Once you’re signed in, you’ll be able to use the app to explore your gaming achievements and accolades, as well as browse Sony’s catalogue of PlayStation and PS Vita games to find the next title to become addicted to.
More of a PC gamer? Valve has you covered with the official Steam app for Android.
The app allows you to explore Steam’s large catalogue of PC and Mac titles and purchase them while on-the-go, as well as to take advantage of the store’s notorious sale. You’ll also be able to connect with your friends, chat with them or just check who’s playing what.
The Sims is a series that everyone has played at some point, in some iteration. It’s one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world, one known for countless expansion packs and an upcoming sequel in 2014.
However, not everyone is stellar at managing their own life, let another the lives of a family of simulations. Grab this app and have your phone close by when playing The Sims to access a [virtual] world of cheats to make your gameplay a little, err…, less life-like.
Not everyone’s a micromanager. Many players prefer taking on the task of managing a whole city and The Sims’s big brother, SimCity, gives them the tools to do that.
As you’ll probably be aware, the 2013 reboot of SimCity brought the requirement of a persistent internet connection to play and suffered the controversy as a result of a tumultuous launch. SimCity Server Checker is a simple utility for checking the status of SimCity’s servers so you can easily and visually see if your city is available to play.
Call of Duty ELITE was introduced alongside 2011′s Modern Warefare 3 as a paid service that offered players the ability to view in-depth statistics and analyse gameplay from their multiplayer matches. With the release of Black Ops 2, this became a free service available to all Activison’s millions of players and the accompanying mobile app gives on-the-go access to all these useful multiplayer and Black Ops 2 Zombies statistics.
Not a Call of Duty player? Prefer living in the world of Battlefield? The unofficial Battlefield BF3 Stats app gives players access to a wide variety of detailed gameplay statistics and information on progress with assignments, kits, weapons, vehicles and more so they can stay up-to-date with their standings even when not in-game.
Moving the theme away from combat games, FIFA 13 Tracker lets budding fans of the world’s top football simulator track their standing as a ranked online player, allowing for analysis of games so you can take time to improve your performance even when you’re not out on the field.
Returning to officially-licensed apps, Halo Waypoint for Bungie’s 2010 Halo: Reach is a multiplayer companion that features viewable maps of multiplayer levels allowing you to explore and strategise, as well as showing weapon and vehicle locations. Players can also pull up their Halo: Reach stats, stay in touch with Xbox LIVE contacts and create custom challenges to invite friends into.
While there’s no Play Store app for Halo 4, the latest flagship, a web app is available as an alternative if you’ve moved on from Reach.
Hitman: ICA is the official companion app to the Hitman franchise, allowing players of Hitman: Absolution to follow their career and analyse it with detailed statistics on their performance. The Contracts system in Absolution is also integrated, allowing players to browse custom contracts and push them into the console game.
World of Warcraft may be one game encountering a steady decline as new franchises take a shot at taming the gaming industry, but all you Android-waving, existing players might appreciate World of Warcraft Armory.
The companion app for World of Warcraft allows you to view extensive information on all your character’s statistics and equipment, use the in-game Auction House, chat with your guild and more, even when you’re sitting in Starbucks.
Starcraft 2 Assistant is a companion app for the popular strategy game Starcraft II, describing, in extent, the game’s mechanics so you can optimise your gameplay and enhance your strategy to better your chances at achieving victory.
Deviating from the theme of gameplay apps, Battle.net Authenticator is a companion app for Blizzard’s games (including the likes of Diablo III, World of Warcraft and Starcraft II). Battle.net Authenticator adds an extra, optional layer of security with your Android handset in a similar fashion to common two-part authentication.
Returning to the goliath of PC gaming, The Sims Official Magazine is a free publication for your Android device offering players an extra way of keeping in touch with the game.
The interactive magazine doesn’t guide you through the gameplay mechanics of the series, but rather features a number of stories on creations and elements from the game, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the development and developers of the game.
Half-Life 2 Booth is a much simpler app and it doesn’t have an awful lot to do with the actual storyline of Gordon Freeman, Black Mesa and City 17. Instead, load up the app and let it add a Half-Life tint to the real world by adding the HEV hud and a selection of weapons as an overlay to your camera image.
Portal 2 Booth, much like Half-Life 2 Booth, is a simple, fun app that overlays Portal’s iconic Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device onto your camera image to give you an idea of how the world would look if there really was an underground testing facility developing portal technologies.
Just like the Half-Life 2 and Portal 2 Booths, Minecraft Photo Booth is an augmented reality app that overlays the Minecraft GUI onto your real-world image. You can even customise which block or item is shown, so you can go full-on realistic roleplay.
We’ve been looking at games garnering current popularity primarily in this roundup, but many classic games still have a space in the hearts of many. Games Notification Sounds is a simple app that offers Android users a catalogue of sounds from classic games to be used by the system as ringtones and/or notification sounds.
Portal 2 is critically acclaimed for its stellar dialogue, especially when put to the voices of actors like Stephen Merchant and Ellen McLain. If you’ve ever played the game, you’ll no doubt agree that this is nothing short of true and a lot of fun can be gained from simply standing around and letting the characters and environment talk.
Portal 2 Soundboard puts hundreds of quotes from the game into the palm of your hand for on-demand playback, so you can easily listen to Cave Johnson’s iconic rant about lemons while at work or even out jogging.
Kinect Star Wars is not a companion app to the Xbox Kinect game. In fact, it’s actually a social networking client for Facebook and Twitter that allows you to view your social profiles and timelines in a Star Wars intro-style perspective that fans of the franchise and the game will appreciate. It might not replace your incumbent social networking app of choice, but it offers a cool novelty with no price tag to go along with.
Finally, for UK gamers, GAME’s official Android app offers a way to get a little bit back in return for your financial investment in gaming. The app allows members of the leading retailer’s Reward program to collect and redeem points, as well as complete accolades to earn more. You’ll also be able to use the app to pull up trade-in prices for games and buy new titles in addition to Microsoft points and PSN credit.